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Mulholland Massacre Update: City Is Investigating

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Last week, a reader and resident of the Hollywoodland Homeowners Association, submitted photos of sad-looking trees on Mulholland Drive, claiming the trees has been decimated by a neighbor who allegedly refused to replace them. The comments section got heated, with other neighbors (or so they claimed to be), chiming in to name the tree-killing culprit. But at least one commenter said the city cut down the trees. Overall, an excellent mob mentality emerged on the site. Nice work, everyone. But let's get some clarification. Ronald Lorenzen, assistant chief forester for the city of Los Angeles, says his staff is well-aware of the so-called massacre--and has been for a while. “We are investigating and will take the appropriate action once our investigation is complete." Sweet dying pines, justice is coming.

Lorenzen says he couldn't name names and would check in with Curbed once his report is complete. So he couldn't confirm who cut down the trees, but he did put up with our inane questions.

Did the city take down these trees?

UFD [Urban Forestry Division] did not perform this work.

What happened to the trees?

I have only seen photos, but it appears that trees have died. These are pine trees, and pines do not like to be topped. If they are topped or overly pruned, they can die. Also, over-pruning can create an opening for insects to come in.

Are the trees on city property?

The trees are on a median or grade separation. It’s considered the public right of way, an easement.

Is it possible that whoever did this had a permit to prune the trees?

You can obtain a pruning permit, but there are guidelines. Even if you have a permit, that doesn’t give you the right to prune a tree in a way that harms the trees.

What is the punishment?

Whoever killed the trees, we can make them remove and replace the trees. If it was to go to a criminal case, the person who did this could be prosecuted?it would be a misdemeanor, which has a maximum fine of $1,000.

Who actually prunes a tree? Could a neighbor do this themselves?

You could hire a tree pruning company, or even your gardener could do it. But [either group] could have done it improperly...

What happens now?

We will take appropriate action once our investigation is completed. At this point I am not sure what this action will be...But at the end of the investigation [which should be completed in the next couple of weeks] I will speak to you again.

Thank you.
· Mulholland's Tree Massacre [Curbed LA]